“I consider myself a colorophile”

Beauty influencer Ester Tania has made a name for herself on social media, sharing skincare, haircare and makeup tips with a community of over two million people. She is your self-proclaimed sister and TikTok storyteller. But – who is the girl behind the face mask?

First of all, she’s incredibly warm, someone many would happily spend a Sunday of self-care with. But she’s also exceptionally knowledgeable and passionate about all things beauty.

Tania was born in Miami but moved to her family’s native Nicaragua when she was just two months old. She grew up in Managua until she was 15, which gave her a very colorful and joyful upbringing.

“I remember being surrounded by trees, mountains, lakes and volcanoes,” she shared. “You don’t usually get that experience living in the United States, so I’m very grateful for that.”

Tania and her five siblings were raised by a single mother, which created a close-knit family dynamic. “My mom and siblings are my best friends,” Tania said, adding, “I tell them everything!”

She also told mitú everything from her must-have beauty products to the trends that give her a dopamine rush, to why Latinos are the picture of resilience. Hint: it has to do with how strong we love, even in the face of adversity. Or maybe because of it.

mitu: How did you get into the world of beauty?

HEY : In fact, I started a long, long time ago when I became a vegan in 2014, which led me to realize that there is a whole world of natural and cruelty-free products out there. And so, I got really interested in making my own lipsticks and SPF.

By then, I had already been exposed to so much beauty culture through my sister, who works at Estée Lauder. And my mother, who always chased us with sunscreen and ponds, and my grandmother too. She is 97 years old and wears makeup every day. she taught me how to brush my hair.

So my family definitely influenced me. But then I switched to the cruelty-free side and it became such a natural and organic thing for me. I started doing research, learned how to oil my own hair and all those things that I had never experienced before.

But it was just a hobby back then. So I was very lucky that in 2020 I was able to turn this hobby into a job. It’s so much fun to sit in front of a camera, put on makeup and talk about skin care or hair care. I’m really lucky.

How would you describe your personal aesthetic?

HEY : I call myself a colorophile. I love color, I love prints, I love furry hats and handbags. I really like to dress according to how I feel. I said the other day that I have an aesthetic sister for self-care, which means I dress for dopamine. So dress colorfully to feel better.

I dress in a way that makes me feel good, and if I feel good, I know I look good. And I’m not going to be afraid of people looking at me. The fact that people were looking at me, even if it was just to pay me a compliment, made me feel a little strange. I didn’t feel comfortable enough with myself.

But now I’m past that, because when I’m getting ready to go out with my friends or to an event, I see the effect my clothes have on people, and I know it makes them happy.

I see girls looking at me and saying, “Oh my god, where did you get that sweater with strawberries on it?” And I’m so happy to share this information. So, I think the dopamine bandage is my thing.

Which skin care, hair care and makeup products do you prefer?

HEY : For skincare, everyone needs a good sunscreen. Supergoop SPF and Kinship SPF are two of my favorites. I also like the Tatcha Texture Tonic, but it’s a bit pricey, so if you don’t want to spend the money on that one, I recommend the Mario Badescu Witch Hazel Toner, which helps moisturize the skin. And finally, the Versed Moisture Maker, which is a moisturizing serum.

For makeup, the first is REFY Brow Gel. You know the current trend is bushy brows – it helps with that. Next is Kosas Lip Oil. It’s like a lip gloss and it moisturizes. I have one in each of my travel bags. Also, Pacifica Vegan Collagen Mascara, which really helps your lashes grow.

Finally, it’s probably the product I’ve been using the longest: the brown Glossier Brow Flick Pen. I’ve been using it since I created my TikTok account, and I love Glossier as a brand, I love what they stand for.

For hair care, there’s a brand called Ceremonia, and they have a whole range of products – scalp scrubs, hair oils, masks, such a wide range of things. They are so innovative and they also do such a good job of incorporating natural fruits that are rich in hair nutrients. They have this guava scalp scrub which is amazing. They are owned by Latina and have products for all hair textures. Everywhere I go people ask me what shampoo I use because it smells so good!

In terms of success, when did you realize you had “succeeded”?

HEY : [Laughs] It happened twice. In 2020, I was in Nicaragua, and I stayed there for about a year and a half. By the time I left Nicaragua, I had 100,000 subscribers. And I said to myself: “I succeeded! That’s it!”

That’s when I started getting emails from brands asking me how much I would charge for a video, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was way down, but I was still so grateful to get those 100,000 subscriber offers.

And that’s when I told my family, and they said, “Make sure you get contracts, make sure you do this and that,” and I slowly started to learn how it all worked. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it made me so happy to know that these brands thought my content was good enough to pay me, which was a huge confidence boost.

And then the second time was when my first video went viral. I think it got around 20 million views on day one. I closed the app – I was actually shooting a movie in Utah – and when I reopened the app after a full day of filming, I had 200,000 new subscribers. It was a pinch moment for me.

I sent screenshots to my friends, my family, I called my agent… I said to myself: “What am I doing? And they were like, “Nothing, just wait for the offers to come in.” And that’s when I knew that I was doing the right thing, that I was going in the right direction and that I just had to trust my instincts and keep going.

What does it mean to you to be Latina?

HEY : Being a Latina is the way I love, how close I am to my family, how resourceful we are as a people. I think Latinos, especially Latin women, are incredibly resourceful.

Because I’m from Nicaragua, I understand what it’s like to live in a government that oppresses its people, and I think being Latina just means having the courage to fight, to speak up, to stand up for what you believe.

Also, being extremely grateful for everything, all the good things in life. I just think that’s the picture of resilience. And strength, passion and love – for your family, for your community.

It’s also being able to help each other. In Managua, people really help each other, and you don’t see that everywhere. If a family is in need, people will cook a pot of rice and beans and bring it to them, along with school supplies for their children. It’s amazing to me.

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